Any Chance of Desktop GPU Connection with Expansion Bay?

Anyone with more knowledge of the expansion bay system know if it gets us closer to connecting desktop gpu’s without a thunderbolt-level bottleneck? I’d love to replace my desktop with a Framework 16 + some sort of desktop gpu enclosure. With the announcement of the expansion bay system it seems like that would be an awesome application. Get desktop level performance at home, have a portable laptop when needed on the go.

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You should be able to, you’d just need to convert the pin-outs and have an external PSU for it to work. We don’t know what generation the connector is, but either way there will be more performance than thunderbolt.

The connector is PCIe Gen4x8


Imagine if we could power the GPU from battery, so you don’t need external PSU. Let’s say Expansion bay with full size pci-e slot and 8 pin power connector. Those desktop mid-range GPU typically are almost the same as laptop ones and draw 120-150W. Than we could be able to mount some ITX desktop version of a GPU inside the Expansion Bay. Fitting everything would probably also require some modifications to the GPU cooling, but it can be done. I think that Framework’s dedicated GPUs options may be limited and expensive so this solution may help.

Why do you want to do the battery like that, what has it done to you to deserve that XD

The expansion bay connector has limited wattage between the system and the module, iirc a bit over 100w in whatever direction you want.

According to the Github documentation the theoretical max is 20V@10.5A, or 210W

Nice, sub half hour batterly life let’s gooooo

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With bifurcation support on the expansion bay connection I hope.

PCI-E is limited to 75W via the slot, that’s why gpus need supplementary power connectors.

The expansion bay isn’t a pcie slot, it has pcie lanes among other stuff.

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It will have bifurcation support given they demoed a multi-SSD expansion for the bay.

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you sure there wasn’t a plx chip in there, I hope there wasn’t but not sure it was confirmed.

Fully configurable bifurcation would be super neat, like 1 4x an 4 1x slots from the back, could hook up so much stuff.


@Adrian_Joachim Not sure at all, I just assumed bifurcation tbh. That would be the proper way of doing things in my mind. Plus the investment in firmware would reduce hardware costs.


Massively so, those damn plx chips just keep getting more expensive.

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Up to date, standalone PCIe switches appear expensive. The cheaper commercial 1x or 4x ones I have seen in mining aren’t at PCIe 3 or 4. Maybe if the fpga packages with suitable ser-des become cheap when ordered at a large volume.

An fpga capable of doing what a plx chip can is going to be a whole lot more expensive than a plx chip, especially once we go to pcie4 or 5

About the power situation, maybe we can add a barrel jack and power management system to the GPU extension board and feed the laptop via the board, not the board via the laptop. This way we can be free of the power restrictions of the board and provide the GPU with more power.